Study: Boomers most interested in health at 2 'change points'

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Baby boomers are most interested in their health and health issues at two key points of their lives, new study results show. The findings give senior care providers new insight as to when key healthcare decisions might be more likely to be made by prospective residents or their adult children.

The increases in healthcare focus came after their 50th birthday and as study subjects neared age 65, researchers said. The report showed people in their late 40s were the least invested in health issues; interest hit a plateau after the first high point: before the 51st birthday through the respondents' early 60s.

The data came from a study of 477 American respondents ages 45 to 65. Responses were reviewed by a team that included lead author John Dimmick, an emeritus associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.

It was the first study to determine health-related "change points," or when people perceive health needs to be more important than at other times, Dimmick said.

“This would be a great time to reach boomers with messages about how to improve and protect their health,” he explained. He pointed out that the results were not affected by gender, media use or how respondents rated their own health. "We do a lot of health screenings at age 50 and prepare for retirement at age 65 and that seems to drive a lot of the interest in health issues at those ages.”

Overall, the respondents reported that health professionals were their number one source of health information, with the media — particularly the Internet — coming in second.
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